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(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

A writer wakes from a night of heavy drinking to find his head is throbbing. The discordant sounds of his neighbor practicing the violin add to his discomfort as he lies contemplating the intensely blue sky and thinking of his girlfriend. The blue expanse somehow reminds him of her peculiar habit of blinking when she is searching for a word. This small detail somehow sums up his girlfriend’s personality for him, and he fears that this understanding of her dooms their relationship. With other women, knowing them too well has destroyed his feelings for them.

His girlfriend has arranged for them to meet that evening at their favorite café after it closes. Sensing that she wants to tell him something important, perhaps that she wants to end their relationship, the young man telephones her, trying to cancel, but she does not answer, so he decides to keep their date. At the café, they enter with a key borrowed from the manager. The young man wants the lights turned on, but she prefers the darkness; she brings them apple juice, but he wants beer. She tells him of a seminar a friend of hers plans to attend. The seminar teaches people how...

(The entire section is 407 words.)